A date to celebrate contraception and women’s leadership

World Contraception Day 2022

Three medical professionals standing together

Contraception is about more than just birth control – it’s about the ability for women to choose if or when to start a family. Having this decision isn’t a choice; it’s a right.

At Bayer, We’re for Her. Our commitment to the reproductive health of all women dates to 1961 when we brought the first oral contraception to the U.S. market. Today we continue to support reproductive health for all women. One example of this is through our work with Direct Relief that helps to provide safe and effective contraception, as well as educational resources, to champion access. Link to Press Release


It’s vital that those of us in healthcare are listening to our colleagues and understanding why access to contraception is key to living a healthier life.


Recent policy changes have been shown to make access to some forms of contraception more challenging. We can’t afford to go backwards on Women’s rights to access and using the contraceptive methods of their choice.


At Bayer, I am privileged to be surrounded by many  impressive people…people like @Yesmean Wahdan, @Andrianna Guo, @Molly Boswell and @Kenny Rehm. Please read what they have to share. I think you’ll be inspired.

Head, Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region
Sebastian Guth
How does access to contraception provide women control over their health?

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named contraception as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The benefits of open access to and provision of contraception are widely recognized and include improved health and well-being, reduced global maternal mortality, health benefits of pregnancy spacing for maternal and child health, engagement in the work force, and economic self-sufficiency for women and families.


Coverage and availability of contraception is cost effective and reduces unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. Access to contraception allows women to take control of their reproductive life planning decisions: whether to have a baby, when to have a baby and spacing of their pregnancies. Additionally, there may be non-contraceptive benefits that are offered by access to these options which include decreased bleeding and pain with menstrual periods and reduced risk of gynecologic disorders, including a decreased risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.”

— Dr. Yesmean Wahdan, Vice President U.S. Medical Affairs, Women’s Healthcare at Bayer Pharmaceuticals

Why is access to free or affordable contraception important to women and female empowerment?

“One statistic that has always stood out to me is that a woman typically relies on birth control for at least three decades. That’s 30+ years! There are so many twists and turns she needs to navigate throughout these three decades. I personally view birth control as a dedicated partner that supports her along her life journey. A woman’s life can be drastically impacted by an unintended pregnancy and so I strongly believe that providing access to free/affordable contraception is critical for all women regardless of life-stage. By removing barriers, such as cost, women can then choose the birth control option that works best for them and feel empowered to achieve their goals in life regardless of what that looks like.” 

— Andrianna Guo, Director, Marketing, Women’s Healthcare at Bayer Pharmaceuticals


“Having access to affordable contraception reflects priority. There are so many pharmaceuticals and procedures that are made affordable because there is a belief in the importance and necessity of the treatment or practice. Making contraception affordable demonstrates to women that their health MATTERS and they are valued. Contraception should be on a level playing field with other health opportunities such as cardiac concerns or kidney health. Contraceptive devices are life-changing devices. WE are FOR HER by supporting her life choices. POWERFUL!”

— Molly Boswell, Area Business Director at Bayer Pharmaceuticals

How can men support the protection of access to contraception? What does ideal allyship look like?

“My suggestion would be to first educate yourselves on why women’s access to contraception is so important before dismissing it as simply elective healthcare. Educate yourselves on unintended pregnancy rates and the effect they have on the woman’s health, society, and pre-and post-natal risks for the baby, to list a few.  


Access to contraception isn’t just access to a product. It means access to education and awareness of reproductive health, choice for what’s best for the individual woman, and equality for all women to the safest and most effective healthcare available. In my life, I am surrounded by important women: mom, sister, wife, aunt, grandmother, niece, friend, colleague, neighbor, etc. They are all reasons I support women’s health. Please join me.”

— Kenny Rehm, Head of Business Development, Women's Healthcare at Bayer Pharmaceuticals

How can we improve contraception access?

Bayer is working to provide access to contraception to women with high unmet need. Since 2020, we’ve collaborated with the nonprofit [tag] Direct Relief. We are announcing today that we are making a $200,000 donation to expand the geographic reach of our partnership to provide services to women in four additional states: Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. 


“Private/public partnerships like those between Bayer and Direct Relief are important components of addressing gaps in coverage for the nation’s most vulnerable communities. Through the We’re for Her campaign, Bayer and Direct Relief have partnered in the distribution of almost 29,000 Bayer IUDs to safety-net providers for their uninsured patients and disbursed $310,000 dollars in community health awards to address barriers in accessing contraceptive services. 


The reproductive health landscape will continue to shift in the coming years with medically underserved communities facing increasing challenges in access to contraception; the need for creative allyship and partnership across different sectors to address these inequities will only increase. Direct Relief is grateful to Bayer for the opportunity to partner creatively and look forward to together supporting community health providers and women’s health over the coming year.”

— Paulina Ospina, Senior Program Director at Direct Relief


World Contraception Day 2022

5 min read